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57th Rescue Squadron jumps into new drop zone

A pararescue specialist of the 57th Rescue Squadron glides onto a new drop zone at RAF Lakeheath, England, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016. The drop zone,established in April, is intended to make training easier for members of Air Force Special Operations.

WILLIAM HOWARD/STARS AND STRIPES

By WILLIAM HOWARD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 15, 2016

RAF LAKENHEATH, England — Airmen of the 57th Rescue Squadron conducted static line jumps from an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter onto a new drop zone on Wednesday.

The drop zone makes training easier for the members of Air Force Special Operations and prepares them for real-world scenarios, including infiltrating into enemy-held territory to save pilots and crews.

“Part of our training requires us to jump out of aircraft in order to remain proficient in rescuing downed pilots behind enemy lines,” Lt. Col. Jose Cabrera, commander, 57th RQS said. “We would get there within an hour or two, jump from the aircraft, render any required lifesaving aid and move with the downed pilot to a safe location for pick-up.”

Pararescue specialists are also trained as military SCUBA divers and are stationed all over the world in order to quickly respond to any search and rescue emergency.

Air Force combat rescue teams, first established in 1947, have been used in every conflict since the Korean War.

Their Pave Hawk helicopters are modified with special protection, communication and navigation systems along with weather radar. They also have in-flight refueling capability, giving them the ability to fly longer-range missions.

howard.william@stripes.com

An HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 57th Rescue Squadron participates in a pararescue specialist jump mission at RAF Lakenheath, England, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016.
WILLIAM HOWARD/STARS AND STRIPES

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